Eternal: 2020 Expedition Spring Championship Review - Dead Jekkoning
This weekend we saw the first of two Spring Championships, this one being the Expedition format. If interested, the top 64 decklists can be found here. This was a unique tournament as Eternal’s newest expansion: Shadow of the Spire was released last Monday, meaning players only had 4 days to find and tune their decks. Because of this most teams quickly found what they believed to be the most obviously powerful deck with some of the strongest new cards, and spent their time tweaking it. The issue was, almost every team came to a similar conclusion, meaning one deck ran rampant through the tournament, FTS sacrifice. Not only did this deck win the tournament, but it also made up the entirety of the top 4 and 7/8 spots in the top 8. Before we dive too deep into the rest of the tournament, I hit peak bridesmaid status in this tournament, finishing second place and want to reflect on it. Heading into this event, just like most teams myself and Team Rankstar agreed we all wanted to play what we believed to be the best build of FTS. Inspired by Isomorphic, we opted to play a much more proactive build from most, playing cards such as Endra, Champion of Shavka and Pause for Reflection over reactive tools like Blightmoth and Rectifier. This change allowed us to close games much more easily, and opened up a new way to approach the mirror match; burn. Once realizing many players had been cutting cards like Devour and playing cards like Strange Burglar, we knew other FTS players would be using their life total as a resource and we aimed to punish this. I can’t speak for everyone else, but this ended up being how I won the vast majority of my games this weekend. This event was a weird experience for me, not only did I play a deck I had very little input on, but I also played something very out of my comfort zone. A huge thanks need to go out to MurderOfCrows and TheBoxer for creating our list, who both took this list to a top 4 finish. It’s always great to see teammates doing well in events, but on a personal level it did a lot for me to finally get past the top 16 after countless day 2 finishes. Over the last many tournaments, poor result after poor result had definitely taken a toll on me, making it much harder to be motivated for events and certainly took away a lot of the confidence I had as a player. I didn’t win this event, and yes it stings to come one game away from planting my flag at the World Championship, but finally getting out of my rut, earning a substantial amount of money and proving to myself that I can do this might have been worth even more. I expected to feel very down after my loss, especially with how many times I stumbled on power but instead I’m left feeling proud, and motivated to perform well in the next two events and anything else I intend to work towards. I’ll be doing a writeup in the next couple of days about the specific deck we brought to the tournament, but let’s get back to the rest of the tournament. Day 1: Day 1 consisted of players playing 12-15 games, 12 for those who had earned 3 wins via QCP points and 15 for the rest. A record of 10-5 was needed to make day 2, with not all 10-5 players making it. Most of the players finishing in the top 10 were well known players, but we saw players Spiffirific on Xenan and Gilead on Rakano Aggro showing that FTS wasn’t the only deck that performed well. I’d like to congratulate Eternal Titans, who not only put 4 people into the top 64 (Finkel, ManuS, Grgapm and zdch) but Grgapm was the only player to finish 14-1. As a player who got to start this event with 3 wins, it was a huge advantage and is one of the big reasons we saw so many top players making day 2 of this event. Listed below is the top 64 metagame breakdown from Paradox.
Day 2: Day 2 brought us one of the most stacked brackets a day 2 has ever had, there was no such thing as an easy road to victory. FTS dominated the tournament, increasing its percentage of the field every round until Nico was the last pilot standing, but it was clear many players had widely different opinions on how to play matchups or how to build the deck. We saw Eternal Titans with cards such as Nahid’s Faithful and Vox, Collector with Entrancer, Team Rankstar with Endra and even players such as The Overmaster playing 5 factions for Keelo. Everyone had a different approach to the deck, and even now as the dust settles, I don’t think that’s changed. For those who didn’t bring FTS, most players still brought the trio of Kato, Jekk and Auralian Supplier in decks such as Praxis Aggro, FTJ midrange or FTP, a deck designed to target FTS. As the title says that I have to credit IlyaK for, so far this expansion has truly looked like Dead Jekkoning.
This meta might have lacked diversity, but with only a few days to prepare that is to be expected. There is an Expedition ECQ in two weeks, and I expect many other archetypes to be experimented with in the meantime. We saw Rakano Aggro put up a strong performance and decks such as TJP or FTJ relic control both show promise, and that doesn’t even touch on cards such as Nightmare Gates that are extremely powerful but will need time to be developed. This weekend will be the Throne Spring Championship and with the balance patch to release tomorrow, we may be in for a similar situation and only have a few days to figure out the metagame. Thanks to everyone who’s shown support to both Backlash, and myself as of late and especially this weekend, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Have any thoughts on the dominance that was FTS sacrifice or upcoming events? Let us know in the comments or on the official Backlash Twitter.